Continuing to Build a Colorado for All: Governor Polis Takes Action to Expand Accessibility & Equity of Colorado’s World-Class Outdoors 

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Governor Polis announcing outdoor equity grants alongside advocates


AURORA - Today, Governor Polis, joined by the Colorado Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Executive Director Dan Gibbs, Department of Revenue Executive Director Mark Ferrandino, state legislators, and community leaders, announced the very first recipients of the Outdoor Equity grant, which increases access to outdoor opportunities for all Coloradans and provides resources to underserved students and communities to help increase environmental learning opportunities, education, and outdoor fun.

“We are continuing to build a Colorado for All, connecting more Coloradans with our  amazing outdoors,” said Gov. Polis. “From cutting the cost of the state park pass to $29, to providing strong support through the new Outdoor Equity grants, we are saving people money and helping the next generation of Coloradans enjoy, love, and care for our outdoor spaces.”

The Outdoor Equity Grant Program connects Colorado youth (0-25) and their families to environmental and conservation education programs, employment opportunities, and provides necessary gear and resources to jump into outdoor recreation. Gov. Polis signed legislation into law last year, sponsored by Rep. Leslie Herod, Rep. David Ortiz, former Senate President Leroy Garcia, and Sen. Jaquez Lewis, to create the Outdoor Equity Grant Program. 

“I am excited to see these grants go from a bill in the legislature, to the Gov’s desk, to now being awarded to organizations that will make the outdoors accessible for all,” said Colorado State Representative David Ortiz. “Grants for adaptive sports programs remove barriers of accessing the beautiful outdoors for those of us that live with a disability.”

“Colorado is known for its outdoor spaces, and we’re working hard to ensure everyone is able to enjoy the opportunities our state provides,” said Sen. Jaquez Lewis. “These grants will help create a new generation of outdoor enthusiasts and open up access so that more Coloradans can experience the wonders Colorado’s public lands have to offer.”

Grant recipients work to connect youth to the lands of Colorado, deepen environmental and science-based education programming, foster community stewardship, and thoughtfully increase accessibility to the outdoors so that youth can thrive and build a sense of belonging. 

“Congratulations to all the incredible organizations that have received an Outdoor Equity Grant,” said Rep. Leslie Herod, D-Denver. “These grants will open up access to our beautiful outdoor spaces for Coloradans who have traditionally lacked opportunities to experience the public lands our state is known for. From connecting underserved youth with conservation programs to building a more diverse pipeline of new employees in our outdoor recreation industry, these grants will foster the next generation of Coloradans committed to protecting our great outdoors.”

“These grants are an important first step in providing first of its kind funding for organizations that serve historically-excluded Colorado youth and families, so that they have the opportunity to experience the natural resources of our state,” said Colorado Outdoor Equity Grant Board Chair Yesica Chavez. “We all know that these experiences deepen our connection to the lands, waters and wildlife around us, and for many youth, these experiences have been difficult to access because of the many barriers communities still face.” 

Grant recipients include:

Diversify Whitewater - Loveland - $4,000

Rugged Research - Longmont - $22,050

University of Northern Colorado - Greeley - $36,435

TEENS - Nederland - $10,000

Girls On Rock - Boulder - $46,300

STEM Launch K-8 - Thornton - $20,000

Cultivando - Eastlake - $19,082

Fortaleza Familiar - Eastlake - $61,750 

Adaptive Adventures - Westminster - $45,000

PABNEEG - Westminster - $25,000

Americas for the Conservation and the Arts - Denver- $20,000 

Lincoln Hills Cares - Denver - $52,500

Metro Denver Partners - Denver - $59,745

The JEKL Institute - Denver - $37,750

Spirit of the Sun - Denver - $100,000 

Adam’s Camp - Englewood - $47,700

Run Wild Trail Camp - Lakewood - $20,000

Big City Mountaineers - Arvada - $28,093

Village Exchange Center - Aurora - $20,000

Black Parents United Foundation - Aurora - $55,875

Rocky Mountain Welcome Center- Aurora - $50,000

Blackpackers - Colorado Springs - $60,000

City of Colorado Springs Therapeutic Recreation Program- Colorado Springs - $17,800

Boys and Girls Clubs of Pueblo County - Pueblo - $150,000

Public School District No.60 - Pueblo - $82,500 

Cal-Wood Education Center - Jamestown - $50,000

elevateHER - Buena Vista - $8,500

Chaffee County Public Health - Salida - $65,000

San Luis Valley Generation Wild/Great Outdoors - Alamosa - $100,000

Acequia Institute - San Luis - $80,000

Earth Mountain Education Farm - Trinidad - $50,000

Aspen Center for Environmental Studies - Aspen - $25,000

Southern Colorado Community Action Agency - Ignacio - $25,000

Conservation Legacy - Durango - $50,000

Fort Lewis College - Durango - $25,020 

Kwiyagat Community Academy - Towaoc - $69,200

Colorado Canyons Association - Grand Junction - $7,500 

Walking Mountains- Eagle Valley Outdoor Movement - Avon - $75,000

The Cycle Effect - Eagle County- $25,000

Basalt Regional Library - Basalt - $5,000

Cloud City Conservation Center -  Leadville - $25,000

Hunters of Color - Statewide - $50,000

Latino Outdoors - Statewide - $36,200
A complete list of awardees is available here. 

For more information, visit

Governor with members of the Outdoor Equity Grant Board